The federal government is famous for its inability to handle ordinary problems, but its reaction to snow is the ultimate example. At this writing, Washington, D.C. is being hammered by its second large snow storm this week and everything is shut down again - schools, government, trains, planes and automobiles. One local TV commentator acted like he had never seen snow, thundering "Ridiculous amounts of snow - this is just insanity!" My favorite snow story so far was the annoucement about an hour ago that throughout the metro area, the roads are now so dangerous that they are suspending SNOWPLOW operations. It is snowing hard and a bit windy, much like we see on Vail Pass every day for a couple months of every year. But while Colorado deals with it routinely, in Washington it's now too dangerous even for a snowplow!
Among the casualties are a series of hearings scheduled this week by various congressional committees, all of which have been cancelled. The most ironic was a hearing announced by Senator Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The Committee has not been very involved in the debate on global warming since the death of the cap-and-trade bill last year, but Chairwoman Boxer was about to correct that oversight. She had announced that this Thursday the Committee would hold a hearing about the public health warnings related to global warming. Some scientists have been warning that our destruction of the planet may lead to increased malnutrition, "encourage the spread of disease-carrying insects and worsen floods, droughts and storms."
I couldn't help smiling at that last part. Is it possible that global warming is making even winter storms worse? If so, there may yet be a positive impact from our use of fossil fuels, aerosol cans and flatulent cows. Perhaps one unintended result is a periodic shutdown of government. Former Senator Howard Baker famously observed that the decline of democracy began when they air conditioned the Capitol building, thus ending what used to be half-year legislative sessions. A New York judge in 1866 coined the often-repeated quip that "no man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session." Maybe more severe snowstorms are just what America needs to recover its sense of freedom and personal responsibility.
Once the Senate EPW Committee reschedules its hearings, its Members may restart the discussion of cap-and-trade, and other schemes to make Americans live in smaller homes, travel less and generally lower our standard of living. The process of transferring our national wealth to third-world nations will continue under the ludicrous guise of improving the environment. Nothing good can come of that. For now, the good news is that government remains closed, probably for the rest of this week, and possibly into next week (it's supposed to snow again Monday). With any luck, the snow will go on for another month - and the country remains temporarily safe.